You Don't Need Four Women to Play Shakespeare: Bias in Contemporary American Theatre

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9780899507293: You Don't Need Four Women to Play Shakespeare: Bias in Contemporary American Theatre
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Based on 50 structured interviews (with actors, actresses, directors, and stage managers) and a random survey of 244 performers who worked in Washington, D.C., from May 1986 to May 1987, this study looks at gender and other bias in the American theater. The interviewees, ranging in age from 19 to 78, reflect on bias against women in the theater; lack of parts, age and race stereotypes, unequal pay, workplace harassment, and so on.

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About the Author:

Ida Prosky is an anthropologist, works with Horizons Theater in Washington. Wife of actor Robert Prosky.

Review:

AMERICAN THEATRE, March 1993. Anthropologist Ida Prosky has spent 30 years as intimately involved with actors and their work as you can get without being in the business--she's the wife of Robert Prosky, longtime company member at Washington"s Arena Stage who has moved successfully into film and television, and the mother of two sons who are pursuing acting careers. Prosky's fascination with the distinct ways that actors' lives and work interact and set them apart in society has resulted in You Don't Need Four Women to Play Shakespeare, based on a survey of 244 performers and interviews with 50 actors, directors, and stage managers ranging in age from 19 to 78. The book examines bias in the American theatre--against men in the larger community but particularly against women in the profession--in terms of age and race stereotypes, lack of parts, unequal pay and workplace harassment. While other anthropological studies have been done on performnace, none has dealt with modern actors and how they live. "American actors have a lot to say about performance--when it does and doesn't work, and how people are transformed or crushed by the process." says Prosky. Theatre veterans will find much that is familiar here, but may be intrigued by the extensively excerpted, anonymous interviews and the conclusions that Prosky draws. It certainly will serve as a valuable resource for those considering acting as a profession. -- AMERICAN THEATRE March 1993

New book on actors' lives. -- BACKSTAGE Nov. 1993

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Prosky, Ida
Published by McFarland (1992)
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Ida Prosky
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ISBN 10: 0899507298 ISBN 13: 9780899507293
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